World's most powerful rocket built by Elon Musk to go to Mars sets first launch date
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Featured Image Credit: Alamy / Bob Daemmrich / zumi
It’s been literally years in the making, but Elon Musk’s $3 billion Starship rocket looks like it could finally have a date for its very first orbital flight - and it’s happening pretty soon.
Speaking last month, Musk said: “I’m not saying it will get to orbit, but I am guaranteeing excitement. I think it's got, I don't know, hopefully about a 50 percent chance of reaching orbit.”
During the same interview, Musk also confirmed that the rocker is ready to go once it receives a launch license from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
And now, a planning notice from the FAA has revealed that the rocket could blast off as early as next week.
The notice has an initial date of April 10, with April 11 and 12 as back ups. However, in a statement, the FAA stressed it hadn’t granted a licence just yet.
“The FAA has not made a license determination for the SpaceX Starship Super Heavy operation,” the FAA said in a statement.
“The FAA's Command Center planning notice should not be interpreted as an indicator that a determination to issue a license has been made or is forthcoming.”
Nonetheless, a report in Ars Technica claims that NASA is reserving the use of its high-altitude WB-57 aircraft for observations of the Starship test flight on April 10 and 11’.
The article goes on to say that NASA is closely tracking SpaceX’s progress as it plans to use ‘the Starship vehicle as a lunar lander for its astronauts as part of the Artemis moon missions’.
While over on Twitter Musk has ‘liked’ a tweet that simply said: “April 10" alongside a gif of a rocket launching.
It was also noted that SpaceX moved its most flight-ready Starship rocket - Ship 24 - to its launch site at its base in Boca Chica, Texas.
Despite all the excitement, Musk has made it crystal clear that he’s aware that launching such a rocket for the first time might not work as desired.
Launching such a complex piece of machinery is fairly fraught with potential problems - one teeny tiny flaw within the spacecraft's hardware or software could see the whole thing, literally, go up in flames.
However, he has also said that if this first attempt doesn’t go well SpaceX is building several more Starship rockets and he reckons that there’s around an 80 percent chance that one of these will be successful before the end of 2023.